FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

America as Boot Camp 

“It would be some time before I fully realized that the United States sees little need for diplomacy; power is enough.”

—Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 6th Secretary General of the United Nations, 1999

“The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis….. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words ‘the American people’ provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don’t need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it’s very comfortable.”

–From Harold Pinter’s Nobel speech, 2005

The 1983 documentary film “Anybody’s Son Will Do” opened many an eye and consciousness to the art and practice used in military boot camps for turning youths barely beyond childhood into troops who will kill on command. Rapid-fire disorientation begins immediately, and in ensuring weeks unrelenting mental assault crushes individuality, hammers strict conformity into young psyches, and counters any religious and ethical standards that might hamper the business of organized mass slaughter. Following the sapping of the multiple personas received, relatively uniform souls at ease with the extermination of humans are built according to military standards and specifications.

Given that a squeamish army is worthless for war, the more hatred that can inflame soldiers — the greater the distance from any sense of common humanity with an “other” that can be generated — is all to the good from a military point of view. As Martin Smith wrote, “In order for the military to avoid feelings of solidarity between their soldiers and the ‘enemy’, it has developed a tried and true method of conditioning enlistees to kill efficiently and, also, and most importantly for success, to dehumanize an adversary.” So, yesteryears’s subhuman “gooks” have now morphed into today’s “sand niggers”. Such attitudes can endure to become integrated into larger society. Marine general James Mattis, now 67 and reportedly the most revered Marine of recent memory, publicly (to applause) declared with reference to Afghan men, “You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway, so it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them … It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people”. The title of the report in Forbes, linked as shown, declares that such a man “could add a manly dose to American culture.”

Two points: Our Brave Warriors must be convinced that, whatever carnage they are ordered to commit (and they must carry out orders; it’s not a choice issue) that they are doing upstanding, patriotic work by protecting American Values At Home And Abroad. The second point: As it is in boot camp, so it is across the entire USofA.

As the American Empire, the world’s “only super power” (for the time being) has sprawled across the planet, ignoring international laws that earlier US Governments had been key in creating; replacing at will established governments; bombing and droning civilian populations; insulting and crushing ancient cultures; killing, maiming and displacing millions as they go, directly or by proxy; assassinating figures of choice; bribing governments and driving nations into debt so as to commandeer resources through privatization; threatening anyone or any nation in defiance of US Foreign Policy, American citizens must be made to believe, in their hearts and with no shadow of doubt, that America exists as a Shining City On A Hill for the rest of the world. Maintaining this absurd myth is the prime aim and function of Pentagon propagandists, corporate-owned media personalities and war-mongering politicians who collect ungodly amounts of cash from the defense industry.

For every US soldier killed in the Middle East, thousands of “insurgents” have been exterminated. When civilians — collateral damage — are included, the “kill ratio” would be immense. Whatever it is, every fatality “over there”, whether fighter or mother or child, leaves extended family, anguished and seething, with a concept of the United States being firmly established in the lineage for generations to come.

Just as every ex-soldier has a moral obligation to cleanse the soul of the kill instinct, and while growing into a reflective adulthood to search out the uncomfortable truths about why the government sends its youth on such missions, so do 300 million Americans have a responsibility to awaken from the ridiculous, insidious, carefully-crafted dream world of “American Exceptionalism” and the ludicrous claim that the World wants the USA as police and protector. The anguish we have created among our fellow humans with actions rather like a My lai Massacre gone viral, has created within much of the collective human breast a rage so deep, so intense, that it could take generations for Americans to live it down. The fact that Germans born long after the collapse of the Third Reich have been forced to live with the stench of Holocaust and military atrocity smeared onto their identities, is a lesson contemporary Americans would do well to understand and to take to heart.

More articles by:

November 15, 2018
Kenneth Surin
Ukania: the Land Where the Queen’s Son Has His Shoelaces Ironed by His Valet
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Spraying Poisons, Chasing Ghosts
Anthony DiMaggio
In the Wake of the Blue Wave: the Midterms, Recounts, and the Future of Progressive Politics
Christopher Ketcham
Build in a Fire Plain, Get What You Deserve
Meena Miriam Yust
Today It’s Treasure Island, Tomorrow Your Neighborhood Store: Could Local Currencies Help?
Karl Grossman
Climate of Rage
Walter Clemens
How Two Demagogues Inspired Their Followers
Brandon Lee
Radical Idealism: Jesus and the Radical Tradition
Kim C. Domenico
An Anarchist Uprising Against the Liberal Ego
Elliot Sperber
Pythagoras in Queens
November 14, 2018
Charles Pierson
Unstoppable: The Keystone XL Oil Pipeline and NAFTA
Sam Bahour
Israel’s Mockery of Security: 101 Actions Israel Could Take
Cesar Chelala
How a Bad Environment Impacts Children’s Health
George Ochenski
What Tester’s Win Means
Louisa Willcox
Saving Romania’s Brown Bears, Sharing Lessons About Coxistence, Conservation
George Wuerthner
Alternatives to Wilderness?
Robert Fisk
Izzeldin Abuelaish’s Three Daughters were Killed in Gaza, But He Still Clings to Hope for the Middle East
Dennis Morgan
For What?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Government is Our Teacher
Bill Martin
The Trump Experiment: Liberals and Leftists Unhinged and Around the Bend
Rivera Sun
After the Vote: An Essay of the Man from the North
Jamie McConnell
Allowing Asbestos to Continue Killing
Thomas Knapp
Talkin’ Jim Acosta Hard Pass Blues: Is White House Press Access a Constitutional Right?
Bill Glahn
Snow Day
November 13, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Midterm Results are Challenging Racism in America in Unexpected Ways
Victor Grossman
Germany on a Political Seesaw
Cillian Doyle
Fictitious Assets, Hidden Losses and the Collapse of MDM Bank
Lauren Smith
Amnesia and Impunity Reign: Wall Street Celebrates Halliburton’s 100th Anniversary
Joe Emersberger
Moreno’s Neoliberal Restoration Proceeds in Ecuador
Carol Dansereau
Climate and the Infernal Blue Wave: Straight Talk About Saving Humanity
Dave Lindorff
Hey Right Wingers! Signatures Change over Time
Dan Corjescu
Poetry and Barbarism: Adorno’s Challenge
Patrick Bond
Mining Conflicts Multiply, as Critics of ‘Extractivism’ Gather in Johannesburg
Ed Meek
The Kavanaugh Hearings: Text and Subtext
Binoy Kampmark
Concepts of Nonsense: Australian Soft Power
November 12, 2018
Kerron Ó Luain
Poppy Fascism and the English Education System
Conn Hallinan
Nuclear Treaties: Unwrapping Armageddon
Robert Hunziker
Tropical Trump Declares War on Amazonia
John W. Whitehead
Badge of Shame: the Government’s War on Military Veterans
Will Griffin
Military “Service” Serves the Ruling Class
John Eskow
Harold Pinter’s America: Hard Truths and Easy Targets
Rob Okun
Activists Looking Beyond Midterm Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Mid-Term Divisions: The Trump Take
Dean Baker
Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Destroy Insurance Pools
George Wuerthner
Saving the Buffalohorn/Porcupine: the Lamar Valley of the Gallatin Range
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail